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Free swimming lessons for 660 Nelson children

Free swimming lessons for 660 Nelson children


Sealord Nelson workers received an extra Christmas present this week with the news that each will be able to offer free swimming lessons to a local child.

As part of its recently announced sponsorship of the Sealord Swim For Life initiative, Sealord has asked each of its staff to nominate a child who will receive 10 free swimming lessons.

According to Sealord's Commercial Manager, Malcolm Osborne, staff can nominate a member of their own family, a friend or any other under 13 year-old they would like to learn to swim.

"That totals 6,600 hours of free swimming lessons for around 660 Nelson kids. Our aim is an increased awareness of swimming as a survival skill and to make a real difference in our local community," says Osborne.

The nominated children will be part of the Sealord Swim For Life project to help them learn to swim 200 metres (a benchmark distance for people to be safe and survive in the water). Lessons will be at the ASB Aquatic Centre in Richmond, Nelson.

Half of 10-year-old Kiwi kids can't swim 25 metres and a quarter of them can't keep afloat, resulting in unacceptably high levels of drowning.

Learning to swim is not a requirement of the school curriculum.

Sealord Swim for Life partners, Water Safety New Zealand have developed the project to equip New Zealand children with the skills to swim 200 metres.

"More New Zealanders drown per capita than any other OECD country. Swim and survival skills should be a way of life for our children," says Matt Claridge, General Manager of Water Safety New Zealand.

To encourage children's participation in Sealord Swim For Life swim 'Passports' have been created to track their progress.

Behind the scenes an online database has been developed to track their progress and the www.swimforlife.org.nz website will provide valuable tips to swim and survive and a place for kids to learn about water safety.

"It would be great if other Nelson companies did the same thing, and we would be happy to facilitate an introduction to Water Safety New Zealand," says Osborne.


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